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G.R. No. 77042-43 February 28, 1990

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Rules of Procedure: Case No. 7

RADIOWEALTH FINANCE CO., INC., et al., Petitioners


vs.
INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE BANK AND COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents.
FACTS:
Radiowealth, Inc. (RWI) and Radiowealth Finance Company, Inc. (RFC) applied for and obtained
credit facilities from International Corporate Bank (Interbank). Petitioners Domingo Guevara (Guevara)
and D.M.G., Inc., acted as sureties to the obligations contracted by RWI and RFC. The obligations of
petitioners were accordingly covered and evidenced by promissory notes, trust receipts and agreements.
From 1978 to 1980, petitioners were not able to comply with their obligations on time with Interbank
due to subsequent severe economic and financial reverses. Interbank, constrained to seek judicial
remedy, through its counsel, lodged before the CFI for collection of sum of money with an application for
a writ of preliminary attachment against RWI and Guevara plus penalties, service charges, interests,
attorney's fees, costs and exemplary damage. This was followed by another complaint before the same
trial court against RFC, RWI and D.M.G., Inc., also with an application for a writ of preliminary
attachment. Petitioners, however, opted to amicably settle their obligations promptly. They, therefore, did
not file any answer nor any responsive pleading to the complaints, and instead entered into a
compromise agreement with Interbank. Said compromise agreement between the parties was embodied
in two Motions for Judgment Based on Compromise corresponding to the separate claims in the said two
complaints which were accordingly submitted to the court a quo for approval. These motions did not
however, cover the payment by the petitioners of Interbank's claims for attorney's fees, costs of collection
and expenses of litigation which were left open by the parties for further negotiations. The trial court
approved the parties' corresponding compromise agreement thereto, with the reservation that the
decision does not terminate this case because matters respecting payment of attorney's fees, costs and
collection. Further proceedings were conducted by the trial court particularly on the issue of the alleged
unreasonableness and unconscionableness of the attorney's fees. It appears from the records of the
cases, however, that Atty. Quisumbing, counsel for Interbank, was able to adduce his evidence in
support for the attorney's fees due to his said client, while Attys. Reyes and Guevara, counsel for
petitioners in the trial court, were not given their request for further hearing against the claimed
attorney's fees despite some supervening events as alleged in their motion for reconsideration, which was
denied. The trial court reduced Interbank's claim for attorney's fees, from the stipulated 10 % to 8 %. Not
satisfied with said trial court's order, petitioners appealed the same before the respondent appellate
court. The respondent appellate court, however, affirmed in toto the assailed order of the trial court.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the court has discretion to modify the attorney's fees previously agreed upon by
the parties under a valid contractual stipulation.
RULING:
The high standards of the legal profession as prescribed by law and the Canons of Professional
Ethics regulate if not limit the lawyer's freedom in fixing his professional fees. The moment he takes his
oath, ready to undertake his duties first, as a practitioner in the exercise of his profession, and second,

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as an officer of the court in the administration of justice, the lawyer submits himself to the authority of
the court. It becomes axiomatic therefore, that power to determine the reasonableness or the
unconscionable character of attorney's fees stipulated by the parties is a matter falling within the
regulatory prerogative of the courts. The Court has consistently ruled that even with the presence of an
agreement between the parties, the court may nevertheless reduce attorney's fees though fixed in the
contract when the amount thereof appears to be unconscionable or unreasonable. For the law recognizes
the validity of stipulations included in documents such as negotiable instruments and mortgages with
respect to attorney's fees in the form of penalty provided that they are not unreasonable or
unconscionable.

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Pre p a re d b y: B U E N AVE N T U RA , JAM E S A N D R E W A.

G.R. No. 81471 April 26, 1989

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Rules of Procedure: Case No. 8

CHONG GUAN TRADING, Petitioner,


vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and JOSE M. CHUA, Respondents.
FACTS:
AJose M. Chua was employed as sales manager of Chong Guan Trading, a dealer of
paper and paper products owned by Mariano, Pepito and Efren Lim. Private respondent
started working with the petitioner way back in 1960 but it was only in 1972 that his name
was registered by petitioner with the Social Security System. In November 1983, private
respondent filed a complaint with the Office of the Labor Arbiter of the National Capital
Region charging petitioner with illegal dismissal and non-payment of overtime pay and
other benefits provided for by law. The parties filed their respective position papers and
agreed to submit the case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings. On April 18,1984,
the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision finding that there was no illegal dismissal since
private respondent was never dismissed by petitioner. No pronouncement on the issue of
the alleged abandonment by private respondent was made but the Labor Arbiter ordered
the reinstatement of private respondent but without backwages. Private respondent
elevated the decision of the Labor Arbiter to the NLRC. In a resolution promulgated on June
30, 1987, the NLRC dismissed the appeal for being filed out of time. Upon motion of private
respondent, the NLRC reconsidered its Resolution and gave due course to the appeal. On
December 29,1987 respondent Commission decided in favor of private respondent. From
the NLRC decision, petitioner interposed the present petition.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the filing of an appeal beyond the10-day reglamentary period within
which to file an appeal makes the Labor Arbiters decision final and executory thus
precluding the NLRC from acquiring jurisdiction to review the decision of the Labor Abiter.
RULING:
Article 223 of the Labor Code provides for a reglamentary period of ten (10) days
within which to appeal a decision of the labor arbiter to the NLRC. The ten-day period has
been interpreted by the Court as ten (10) "calendar" days and not ten (10) "working" days.
In the instant case, while the appeal was filed within ten (10) working days from receipt of
the decision, it was filed beyond the (10) calendar days prescribed by law. Private
respondent received a copy of the decision of Labor Arbiter Martinez on May 3, 1984 while
the appeal was filed only on May 15, 1984 or twelve (12) days from notice of the decision. It
is true that the perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period prescribed by
law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional, and failure to perfect an appeal has the effect
of rendering the judgment final and executory. However, as correctly pointed out by the
Solicitor General, the NLRC may disregard the procedural lapse where there is an

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acceptable reason to excuse tardiness in the taking of an appeal. In this case, the appeal
was filed out of time because the counsel of private respondent relied on the footnote of the
notice of the decision of the Labor Arbiter which stated that "the aggrieved party may
appeal ... within ten (10)working days, as per NLRC Resolution No. 1, series of 1977. Thus,
private respondent's late filing of the appeal notwithstanding, the Court finds that public
respondent did not commit grave abuse of discretion in giving due course to the appeal.

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Pre p a re d b y: B U E N AVE N T U RA , JAM E S A N D R E W A.

G.R. No. 72096 January 29, 1988

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Rules of Procedure: Case No. 9

JOHN CLEMENT CONSULTANTS, INC. and EDI STAFFBUILDERS INTERNATIONAL, INC., Petitioners,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, and NESTOR A. FLORES, Respondents.
FACTS:
Nestor Flores was engaged as Managing Consultant by the John Clement Consultants, Inc.,
(JCCI). He was placed in charge of a division of JCCI, Staffbuilders International, Inc. (SBII). A year or so
afterwards, Flores was promoted to the position of Managing Consultant of JCCI's International Division.
Flores was assigned in Bahrain. During his tour of duty in that country, he obtained cash advances
amounting to P14,211.30. This liability he failed to liquidate even after he returned to the Philippines, an
infringement of standing company policy. Upon the return to the Philippines of the JCCI President,
Flores met with him and reiterated his desire to resign. His resignation was accepted, and he was told
that a written communication to this effect was expected. Flores failed to submit any resignation letter.
Flores ceased to come to the company premises; and he failed to appear at the meetings scheduled to
discuss the terms of the severance of his ties with the JCCI. He also failed to return the company car
assigned for his use, eventually doing so only on July 23, 1980, after receipt of a series of telegrams
demanding such return. Three months after his resignation, Flores filed a complaint for illegal dismissal
against JCCI and EDI with the Ministry of Labor & Employment. Due proceedings were had on his
complaint, inclusive of the submission of position papers by the parties, and the holding of a hearing on
the issues. The decision on Flores' complaint was rendered by the Labor Arbiter. It dismissed his
complaint for lack of merit. The judgment however declared that there was due to him the sum of
P6,671.24 representing his bonus or share in the profits for the period from January to June, 1980,
which amount JCCI and its affiliates were ordered to pay within ten (10) days under sanction of
automatic issuance of a writ of execution for failure to do so. Notice of the Labor Arbiter's decision was
received by Flores on December 29, 1982. Fifteen days later, on January 13, 1983, he perfected an
appeal to the National Labor Relations Commission. 2 JCCI filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on
January 28, 1983, asserting that it had been filed beyond the reglamentary period of ten (10) days from
notice. The motion to dismiss was never resolved. On April 26, 1984, the NLRC, by a majority vote,
promulgated judgment reversing the Labor Arbiter's decision, ordering the reinstatement of Flores to his
former position and the payment to him of fixed back wages for one (1) year without qualification or
deduction from earnings elsewhere during the period of his dismissal, and affirming the Arbiter's award.
JCCI's motion for reconsideration filed on May 18, 1984 was denied by Resolution dated August 28,
1985, the NLRC inter alia holding itself to have jurisdiction over the case.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the NLRC had jurisdiction to take cognizance of an appeal from the Labor
Arbiter's decision: the appeal was perfected after the lapse of' the reglamentary period of ten (10)
calendar days prescribed under the law.
RULING:
The petition should be granted. The writ of certiorari will issue in the petitioners favor. As the
Solicitor General correctly points out, Flores' appeal was indeed filed out of time: and the facts clearly
establish that Flores had not been illegally dismissed but had in truth voluntarily resigned, his offer to
resign being unconditional and irrevocable, and Flores clearly had acted in bad faith: he deliberately
withheld submission of his written resignation in order to retain employment in JCCI while
"moonlighting" in a rival enterprise, contrary to JCCI Company policy. In taking cognizance of Flores'

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appeal, notwithstanding the recorded actuality that it was filed 15 days after notice of the judgment
sought to be appealed and therefore, beyond the 10-day period of appeal set by law, the NLRC had acted
without jurisdiction, in deliberate disregard of this Court's holding in the afore cited Vir-Jen case that
the ten-day period of appeal set out in Article 223 of the Labor Code, as amended, meant calendar and
not working days. This Court is also satisfied, after a thoroughgoing review of the record that the
findings of fact of the Labor Arbiter are warranted by the evidence, and the rejection and reversal thereof
by the NLRC was without justification, and was therefore whimsical and capricious.

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G.R. No. 109166 July 6, 1995

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Rules of Procedure: Case No. 10

HERNAN R. LOPEZ, JR., Petitioner,


vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, FOURTH DIVISION, CEBU CITY, and
DOMINADOR AMANTE, Respondents.
FACTS:
Private respondent Dominador Amante filed a complaint against petitioner before the
Regional Arbitration Branch No. VI, Cebu City for illegal dismissal, reinstatement with
backwages or separation pay, and wage differentials. In a Decision dated June 23, 1992,
the labor arbiter dismissed the complaint for lack of cause of action against the petitioner.
Private respondent appealed to the NLRC. On December 10, 1992, the NLRC reversed the
appealed decision and granted private respondent's prayer for reinstatement and payment
of "backwages, separation pay, and wage differentials" all computed at P19,542.50. It found
that private respondent was illegally dismissed. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was
denied for lack of merit, hence, this petition. Petitioner contends that there is no
substantial evidence that would support the finding of the respondent commission that
petitioner allegedly re-employed respondent Amante considering that the payrolls where it
based its findings were only presented for the first time on appeal and therefore not
substantial evidence to support said finding.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the NLRC can admit evidence presented by the appellants for the first
time on appeal, contrary to the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts of law.
RULING:
There was nothing wrong when public respondent admitted the May 1990 payrolls of
Hacienda Colisap proving the re-employment of private respondent although they were
presented only on appeal. Article 221 of the Labor Code provides that "in any proceeding
before the Commission or any of the Labor Arbiters, the rules of evidence prevailing in
courts of law or equity shall not be controlling." It further mandates the NLRC to use every
and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively and
without regard to technicalities of law or procedure. Thus, in Bristol Laboratories
Employees Association v. NLRC, the Court upheld the NLRC when it considered additional
documentary evidence submitted by the parties on appeal to prove their contentions. Too
long settled is the rule that technicality should not be permitted to stand in the way of
equitably and completely resolving the rights and obligations of the parties.

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Pre p a re d b y: B U E N AVE N T U RA , JAM E S A N D R E W A.

G.R. No. L-69628 October 28, 1987

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Rules of Procedure: Case No. 11

PEDRO B. NARAG, Petitioner,


vs.
THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and AIRBORNE SECURITY SERVICES, INC.,
Respondents.
FACTS:
Petitioner Pedro B. Narag filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Commission,
National Capital Region, Manila, against his employer, Airborne Security Services, Inc., for illegal
dismissal, non-payment of legal holiday pay, violations of PD Nos. 525, 851 and 1123, and for
reimbursement of cash deposits. Labor Arbiter Valenzuela promulgated a decision in favor of Narag,
finding that complainant Narag was constructively dismissed without a valid cause for which
respondent Airborne Security Services, Inc., through its responsible officials, should be, as it is
hereby, ordered to reinstate him to his former position, and pay him one (1) year backwages, the
least amount amenable to complainant which he conveyed to respondent's counsel and
representative when undersigned made a last ditch effort to settle the same before promulgation of
this Decision. As admitted in its 'Partial Appeal.' filed by Vice-President Sabado, respondent
security agency received on April 30, 1984 a copy of the aforementioned decision of the labor
arbiter. And, on May 11, 1984, respondent security agency filed its aforesaid 'Partial Appeal from
the decision of the labor arbiter to the respondent Commission, claiming in the main that
complainant Narag was only placed under headquarter's disposition on July 16, 1982; he was never
dismissed from the service of respondent security agency. On December 27, 1984, respondent
Commission promulgated its decision on the appeal, finding that complainant Narag was not
dismissed nor suspended from his employment hence, he should be, as it was so ordered,
reinstated to his former position but without any backwages. Believing that the foregoing decision of
respondent Commission virtually set aside the labor arbiter's decision in this labor case,
complainant Narag filed the instant petition for review before this Honorable Court.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the NLRC has jurisdiction to entertain an appeal filed on the eleventh (11 th)
day, much less modify the decision appealed from, the same having become final and executory
after the lapse of the ten (10) days reglementary period.
RULING:
It is too late in the day for private respondent to insist that an award, order or decision by the
Labor Arbiter may be appealed to the NLRC within a period of ten working days from receipt,
discounting Saturdays and Sundays. May 10, 1984 is a Thursday. If it were a Sunday or holiday the
filing of the appeal the following day would have been allowable. The shortened period of ten (10)
days fixed by Art. 223 of the Labor Code contemplates calendar days and not working days.
Considering that the appeal by private respondent from the decision of the Labor Arbiter was filed
on the eleventh day after receipt of the said decision, it was one (1) day late of the ten-day
reglamentary period which terminated on May 10, 1984. Consequently, the decision of the Labor
Arbiter had already become final and executory. Perfection of an appeal in the manner and within
the period prescribed by law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional, and failure to perfect an
appeal as required by the Rules has the effect of rendering the judgment final and executory.

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Moreover, a careful review of the records of the case show that the petitioner was effectively and
illegally dismissed from the service by the private respondent. After he was relieved of his duties
allegedly temporarily, he continued to report for duty but he was never given any assignment. And
when on July 30, 1982 he asked for his salary at the accounting department of private respondent
he was told that there was none and that he had already been laid off. No doubt the decision of the
labor arbiter which was sought to be appealed is supported by the evidence and the applicable law.

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G.R. No. 111905 July 31, 1995

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Rules of Procedure: Case No. 12

ORIENTAL MINDORO ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC., Petitioner,


vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and OSCAR NITURAL, Respondents.
FACTS:
On February 20, 1989, private respondent filed before the Arbitration Branch,
Regional Office No. IV, NLRC, a complaint against ORMECO for illegal suspension, nonpayment of half of his 13th month pay and non-payment of his salary differential pay. After
due submission of the position papers and other pleadings of the parties, the labor arbiter
rendered a decision on July 10, 1990 in favor of private respondent Nitural. Both parties
appealed said decision to the Third Division of the NLRC. On May 20, 1993, the NLRC
promulgated its decision dismissing ORMECOs appeal for failure to file the required bond,
even as it really lacks merit, and granting Niturals appeal insofar as his prayer for
reinstatement is concerned. Consequently, ORMECO was directed to reinstate complainant
to his former or equivalent position without loss of seniority rights and with full backwages.
On June 6, 1993, Nitural filed a motion for recomputation and to include his 13th month
pay therein. On July 3, 1993, petitioner filed a notice of appeal to the Secretary of Labor
and, on July 9, 1993, a motion for extension of time to file an appeal memorandum. On
July 28, 1993, a resolution was issued by the NLRC denying the recomputation sought by
Nitural for being filed out of time and likewise denying the notice of appeal with extension of
time filed by ORMECO for being "untenable, as this is not provided for by our existing law
on the matter.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the decision of the NLRC may be appealed with the Secretary of
Labor.
RULING:
Petitioner failed to reasonably seek relief from the decision of the NLRC in the proper
forum and within the prescribed period. ORMECO's attempt to appeal the NLRC's decision
and resolution to the Secretary of Labor was erroneous. Parenthetically, Article 223 of the
Labor Code formerly granted an aggrieved party the remedy of appeal from a decision of the
NLRC to the Secretary of Labor. PD No. 1391, however, amended said Article 223 and
abolished appeals to the Secretary of Labor "to insure speedy labor justice." Since
petitioner's appeal to the Secretary of Labor was not authorized in law, it did not toll or
affect the period for seeking relief from the decision and resolution of the NLRC through a
petition for certiorari. In fact, petitioner did not even file a motion for reconsideration with
the NLRC for purposes of such a petition. Petitioner as well failed to file the requisite appeal
bond in its appeal to the NLRC from the decision of the labor arbiter. The intention of the
lawmakers to make the bond an indispensable requisite for the perfection of an appeal by

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the employer is underscored by the provision that an appeal by the employer may be
perfected "only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond." The word "only" makes it
perfectly clear, that the lawmakers intended the posting of a cash or surety bond by the
employer to be the exclusive means by which an employer's appeal may be perfected. That
requirement is intended to discourage employers from using an appeal to delay, or even
evade, their obligation to satisfy their employees' just and lawful claims.